Receiver-needy Ravens land Boldin in trade with Cardinals

The Baltimore Ravens couldn't pass up the opportunity to add a talented pass catcher -- three-time Pro Bowl selection Anquan Boldin.

The Ravens obtained Boldin from the Arizona Cardinals on Friday in exchange for a third- and fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft. Boldin, 29, has amassed at least 1,000 receiving yards in five of his seven NFL seasons, including 1,024 yards on 84 catches last season.

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Boldin, who was scheduled to enter the final year of a deal that would have paid him $3 million in 2010, agreed to a new deal that added three years on his existing contract, according to NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. Boldin's new contract is worth a maximum of $25 million for the final three years, with $10 million guaranteed, a league source told La Canfora.

"The Ravens just got better," coach John Harbaugh said in a statement released by the team. "Anquan is a significant addition for us. He fits the personality of our team with the hard-nosed, physical way he plays. We love the way he competes. Our fans will enjoy watching him compete, and his teammates will be excited to have him with us."

Baltimore's top priority this offseason was to bolster a receiving corps that last season featured Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams. Mason was the lone receiver with 1,000 yards, and running back Ray Rice led the team with 78 receptions.

Mason and Washington are unrestricted free agents. However, with the addition of Boldin and free agent Donte' Stallworth, who was signed last month, the Ravens appear to have improved their wideout situation regardless of whether Mason and Washington return.

The 6-foot-1, 217-pound Boldin was the Cardinals' No. 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald. Boldin is a physical player capable of making a crushing block or a difficult catch, but his one shortcoming has been injuries. He has had only one injury-free season since 2003, and last season, he missed both of Arizona's playoff games with ankle and knee injuries.

But the Ravens couldn't be happier to have Boldin.

"Anquan is a player who makes the tough catches and he is outstanding getting yards after catches," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in the statement. "He will also help the running game with his blocking skills. He's a very tough competitor and, with the way he plays with passion, he will fit right in with the foundation we have for our team."

Boldin was delighted with the news that he was headed to Baltimore.

"I'm definitely excited. For me, I've been hoping for this for a year since I first heard that the Ravens might be interested in me," Boldin said. "The Ravens play a certain way. They play as hard and as physical as any team in the league, and I want to add to that. I think I play the way they play."

Trading Boldin had grown ever more likely since the opening of Arizona's training camp in 2008, when he accused team management of lying to him by promising a new contract during that offseason. He went on to demand a trade, but the Cardinals didn't find anything to their liking a year ago.

The Ravens always were the front-runners for Boldin, according to Cardinals general manager Rod Graves.

"We did have several teams approach us over the weekend and express interest during the combine," Graves said, "but Baltimore certainly was much further ahead from a contractual standpoint with Anquan and his agent and the compensation we felt was fair for us. We felt the timing of it was good."

Arizona wasn't prepared to offer Boldin the kind of contract he wanted because of his age and injury concerns. He switched agents and kept quiet about a trade demand last season, but he said his opinion about the situation hadn't changed.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said it was critical that Boldin be given a new contract as part of any trade.

"Mutually, for both parties, it was a good deal," Whisenhunt said. "I am sad to see Anquan go just because of the great respect I have for the way he played the game, certainly for the contributions that he's made to our ballclub since I've been here. But I am also pleased that Anquan gets something that he's excited about, something that he's worked hard to get."

Boldin never let his contract situation in Arizona affect his effort. He remained a team leader in the Cardinals' locker room and was one of their toughest and hardest-working players.

The presence of Steve Breaston and emergence of Early Doucet, who has a Boldin-like playing style, made the trade even more likely for Arizona.

Boldin hold the Cardinals' franchise record for receptions at 586. His 7,520 receiving yards rank third, and his 44 touchdowns are fifth in team history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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